The Denver Open (Doubles)
Husband and wife/girl and guy duos, for some reason, just always work. Mates of State and Matt and Kim have been owning the indie pop world, producing sing-along hits. Tennis is no different. The Denver-based group, comprised of Alaina Moore (keys) and Patrick Riley (guitar), along with drummer James Barone, are a special combination. Their ’60s girl pop stylings, mixed with a little surf, are key to making their latest release Small Sound bigger than they imagined.
The tracks: “Mean Streets” is that sleepy, AM Gold that pops on whenever you and the Mrs. are about to get physical. Moore’s voice is just the smallest hint of soulful, but cute enough to let the song breathe. “Timothy” is an indie-pop heart breaker, with Moore singing a little more delicately. Riley’s twinkly, heady guitar riffs add to the woe. Barone holds it down with a simple beat, but maybe that’s all this song needs. Songs like “Cured of Youth” and” “Dimming Light” are sexy romps through music’s past. There’s definitely some Sade in there, maybe Sinead, and a little Cocteau Twins. The instruments are subdued heavily, letting Moore shine a little brighter than usual.
“100 Lovers” closes the disc, with Moore and Riley stretching their pop legs. The fun, almost yacht rockish piano is combined with what seems to be a a small, digital horn section. Small Sound is so cohesive, it could have easily been a full length release. It has a certain type of narrative only found in LPs, and Tennis manages to pull it off in five songs. This is definitely one of the better indie pop releases of 2013, and it would have probably worked better as a summer release. Winter usually calls for more whispery, whiskey-fueled cry-alongs that you put on after a hard day at the docks. Either way, Small Sound is ace. Or love. Or (insert tennis joke here).